dual protection

It is important that you do not solely relying on your partner to be responsible for protection during sexual activity.

The more you know about your body and the options available to sustain and preserve its longevity, the better suited you are to not only survive but also thrive.

Dual protection means the simultaneous use of two methods of prevention used at the same time. Couples should “Dual Protect” to prevent sexually transmitted infection and unplanned pregnancy.

More often than not in sexual relations, it is the presumed that the man should be the only one to “condomise” meaning purchase, use and dispose of the Male condom. A healthy alternative is to consider Dual Protection and the following methods of contraception exist:

  • Tablets (e.g “The Pill”)
  • Injectables (8 week) and/or (12 week)
  • Patches
  • Implants
  • IUDs and IUSs “Loop”
  • Emergency Contraception (e.g Morning After Pill)
  • Female Condoms

Female Condoms are a form of contraception which is made of thin rubber. It is inserted into a woman's vagina before sexual intercourse. Female Condoms are an alternative contraceptive method to the conventional Male Condoms and are equally effective.

Check out our videos with Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng where she explains Female Condoms in more detail

  • What have your experiences of the using the Female Condom been?
  • Does it make you feel more/less safe during sexual intercourse?

PHILA encourages you to familiarise yourself with knowledge on the various methods of preventing STIs and HIV/AIDS. If you need any advice on matters related to sexual health, contact your local clinic and speak to a health professional.


pap smear

As an adult woman, whether sexually active or not, you should include pap smears into your routine at least once a year, to start with. Yes! Cervical Cancer is one of the most common and lethal diseases in women, irrespective of age. Unlike most forms of cancer, Cervical Cancer can be treated and prevented, if detected early.

The advantage of having an annual pap smear is that the results are also able to detect the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is not only a sexually transmitted infection (STI) but is also a well-established cause of Cervical Cancer.

Pap smears are commonly described as painless procedures that take 5-10 minutes. If HPV or cervical cancerous cells are detected then follow-up pap smears and procedures are conducted.


Immunisation

The Immunisation of children in South Africa is free at all local clinics and are very important as it prevents illnesses, disabilities and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases including Cervical Cancer, Diphtheria, Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps, Pertussis (whooping cough), Pneumonia, Polio & Rotavirus Diarrhoea (the most common cause of diarrhoeal disease amongst young infants and children which infects the bowels causing inflammation of the stomach and bowels).

There are 5 important pillars in the Road to Health booklet for Mothers and Caregivers:

  1. Nutrition - Your child needs the right foods to be healthy and grow well, for infants the best nutrition is breast milk which is the ideal food for your baby to grow, develop and be healthy.
  2. Love - children need a safe environment, Mothers and Caregivers are advised to do loving things with the children such as holding, talking, playing and reading to help with their emotional and physical development.
  3. Protection - Children should NOT only be taken to the clinic when they are ill. You should, however, take your child for their full course of immunisations and vaccines for routine treatments and check ups according to the timetables in their Road to Health booklet.
  4. Healthcare - Children need healthcare when they are sick, Mother and Caregivers are advised to know the warning signs and immediately take the child to a local clinic.
  5. Extra care - All children need Nutrition, Protection, Love and healthcare but children living with HIV/AIDS, TB, serious injuries, supervision and disabilities will need extra support and care by their mothers or caregivers. It is advised that children be taken to their their local clinic as requested for regular check-ups and be assisted in their adherence to the treatment.

If you miss the date for your clinic visit, make sure that you return as soon as possible. If you know you or your child will be away for an extended period approaching their date for immunisation, then it is best to consult with your doctor or nurse on the possible side effects of the immunisation in order to ensure you have the correct provisions in place for the utmost comfort and ease of healing.

Know more. Do better!


Exclusive Breastfeeding

Breast milk contains natural nutrients and anti-oxidants for mother and baby. Some of the benefits of breast milk include:

  • Properties that fight sicknesses and allergies for baby
  • Protection from certain cancers in the future for mother
  • Breastfeeding reduces mother’s risk to postpartum depression
  • Breast milk assists brain activity, intelligence and early development for babies

Although breastfeeding is the best way to feed a baby, it is vital to make a conscious decision to get best practise advice from health practitioners and other mothers!

Breastfeeding is the ideal food for a baby to grow, be healthy and bond with their mother. Exclusive breastfeeding means that your child ONLY feeds on breastmilk, which is recommended for 6 months. Any breastfeeding, after the age of 6 months, can include other liquids and solids that PHILA outlines below. There is no time limit on how long you can breastfeed a child after they have reached the 6-month threshold of exclusive breastfeeding. Here are (y)our Top 10 PHILA Tips to exclusively breastfeed blissfully and peacefully:

  1. Give your baby ONLY breast milk for the first six months of life. Do not give porridge, water or any other liquids. Do not give any other home or traditional medicines or remedies. Only give your baby medicines they receive from the clinic or hospital.
  2. Breastfeed as often as your baby wants, both day and night.
  3. Breastfeed your baby at least eight times in 24 hours. The more your baby feeds the more milk you will produce. Almost all mothers will produce enough milk for their baby not to need anything else for the first six months.
  4. You can express (pump) breast milk for child carers to give to your baby while you are away. They should use a clean cup, rather than a bottle.
  5. It is best not to use bottles or artificial teats (dummies). Some babies find it difficult to suckle at the breast after using a dummy. Bottles are also difficult to clean and may have germs that can make your baby sick.
  6. Store expressed breast milk in a clean glass or plastic cup with a lid.
  7. Defrost in a fridge or store at room temperature over 12 hours by standing in water. Do not boil or microwave.
  8. Breastfeeding mothers should eat healthy food. They must not drink alcohol, smoke or take other harmful drugs.
  9. If you are HIV-positive, remember to always take your HIV or antiretroviral treatment. This makes breastfeeding safe.

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

A woman drinking alcohol during pregnancy has a high probability of birthing a child with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

FAS can be defined as the physical and/or mental damage in a child due to alcohol exposure while in the womb.

The signs & symptoms of a child and person with FAS may include the following:

  • Abnormal facial features such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip
  • Small head size
  • Shorter than average height
  • Low body weight
  • Bone and joint deformities
  • Heart and/or kidney difficulties
  • Poor coordination
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ (Intelligence Quotient)
  • Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
  • Vision or hearing disabilities

There is also no safe period or safe kind of alcohol to drink during pregnancy. The effects of FAS are likely to stunt an unborn baby’s behaviour, development as well as impair their learning abilities.

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome lasts a lifetime! There is no cure. Research shows that early intervention can improve a FAS child’s development but never reverse the damage in its entirety. There are many types of treatment including medication to help reduce some FAS symptoms such as educational therapy and parent training.

Pregnant women should stop consuming alcohol as soon as their aware or have confirmed pregnancy.


Early Booking, Adherence to Antenatal Care

Early booking and Adherence to Antenatal Care (ANC) is the care pregnant women get from nurses during their pregnancy. Early and regular visits at local clinics is important for pregnant women to ensure that there is a safe pregnancy and healthy baby, so it is important for pregnant women to do all 8 Antenatal Care visits which is free in any local clinic.

To know more about the Antenatal Care Programme (MomConnect) read more